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- Help leaders understand the importance of ‘painting the picture’ of their vision
- Help leaders engage their constituents in sharing the vision
10 – 30 participants
- PowerPoint slide presentation: Floyd Lee’s Vision
- Wallchart paper, markers
- A Culinary Oasis article, U.S. News and World Report © 2004
Tables and chairs so that groups of 3–6 individuals can work together in small groups
- Begin by sharing the purpose of the exercise. Say:
“The purpose of the exercise is to help us, as leaders, become more aware of how important it is to ‘paint the picture’ of our vision and also to engage our constituents in sharing and making the vision come to fruition. In this exercise, we will be using a great example of an inspiring leader, Floyd Lee, who ran a chow hall in Baghdad, Iraq.”
- Have the PowerPoint ready on the screen so that you can give a brief overview of the situation.
- Present the Exercise Overview section of the PowerPoint presentation (print out slides 2-5 and distribute as a handout, if you would like)
- Share with the group this background info:
“Iraq can grind down even the most gung-ho soldier. The tours of duty last mostly a full year, the workweek is seven days long, and workdays can stretch to 18 hours or more. With regular rocket attacks on the base, every soldier faces perils. So sometimes all they have to look forward to is a meal at our mess hall.”
- Tell the group:
“You are part of the new food service staff at the Pegasus Grille (i.e. chow hall) at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. I’m Floyd Lee, the chow hall manager. I want to spend a few minutes with you sharing my vision about what I think we can do together to make this the best chow hall ever. In its simplest form I believe that, "We are not just in charge of food service; we are in charge of morale." (share bullets of Floyd Lee Vision Detail—slides 3 & 4 of the PowerPoint—and embellish with stories)
- Share the U.S. News & World Report article, A Culinary Oasis: and give participants a few minutes to read it. Show the images of Floyd Lee’s chow hall (slides 6 - 11 of the PowerPoint). As you show the images, point out the creative ways that the service team made the chow hall the place where soldiers came for a morale boost.
- Challenge your group to be creative and resourceful in coming up with new ideas beyond what the last service staff incorporated, remembering that there are no extra dollars/resources in the budget.
- Tell the group what their task is:
“For the next 10 minutes, your small group will be brainstorming a list of 'out of the box' creative ideas about how you can ‘serve up morale’ to the soldiers. The more creative, the better! The more ideas, the better!
Be prepared to share your ideas with the larger group when we reconvene.”
- Reconvene the participants into a large group
10. Ask each group’s spokesperson to share some of their ideas with the large group.
11. Facilitate a discussion by asking these two questions:
- What did Floyd Lee do to engage his team to make the chow hall vision come true, serving up morale? (Help the group understand that Floyd Lee shared his vision and then asked for the team’s ideas about how to flesh it out. It became a shared vision.)
- What are your ideas about how you will inspire and engage your team to share in your vision? How will you gather their ideas and inspire them to become part of the shared vision?
Edith Katz is Employee Development Manager and Karen Gallagher is Vice President, Human Resources at Brooks Rehabilitation, based in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they facilitate an 11-week Leadership Challenge series that includes action learning assignments for each of The Five Practices. Edith can be reached at Edith.Katz@Brooksrehab.org; Karen can be reached at Karen.Gallagher@Brooksrehab.org.